Art by: Laurie Proctor-Lefebvre Flying by: Laurie Proctor-Lefebvre
The Survivor Issue Letter From the Editor: This particular issue, The Survivor Issue, is very dear to my heart because of all of the things I have discovered this past year while battling cancer. I discovered, that people are fighting for their lives everyday. It may not be in the same way, but they are fighting just to try to survive. At first, I cried so much because I thought I was losing myself. First I lost my hair, then I lost hope when I found out my tumor was not shrinking, and the worst feeling was having the mastectomy. I felt stripped of myself. I kept asking myself, “Who am I now?” Now, I know who I am. I am still Nancy! Not to toot my own horn, but umm… toot toot! This Nancy is the 2.0 version. I know that I have a purpose, that I am supposed to be doing things to help others change their lives as I have been changing mine though out the past year. I want people to know that everything will be ok! Whatever you are going through, you can handle it. Do what I do: walk up to a mirror and say, “You can beat this!” It sounds silly, but it really gives you a boost of confidence, and then of course, it reminds you of just how fabulous you are. ;) The people that I chose to participate in this particular issue are people that I really believe can inspire others through their acts of courage and determination. These are people who have the drive to survive, survivors! I want to thank each and every one of you who participated. It has been an honor working with you. I also want to give a special thanks to Julie Bera for surprising me with an article about me! So sweet! I am blessed to have people around me with such good hearts. Remember, as Maya Angelou once wrote, “I can be changed by what happens to me, but I refuse to be reduced by it.” That’s all everyone! Enjoy this issue! Yours truly, Nancy Janette Santos Editor DF Magazine
Table of Contents Interviews: Artist Angelica Martinez & Angela Michelle of Raven Red Heart and Soul Survivor Stories with Brian Barbier, Mandi Gallegos, Manuel Leal , and Irasema Lobo Interviews: The Talk of Taiwan: Artist Gray Zao The Rejected Hearts Club: Jamie Batiste Autmus Fest My Hero by Julie Bera INRODUCING: Juli Cardenas - Jr photographer Juan Castillo - Photographer
Steve Jobs Quote
On the Cover:
Photo by: Jonathan Gutierrez
Interview: DF: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Angelica: Hi, First, I wanted to thank you for the opportunity to be a part of a wonderful magazine filled with passionate people! I’m a student currently, working on my bachelors and my major is Art and my minor is in Biology. I am a young, Hispanic woman who just turned 20 in June. I am about halfway through my first taste of College. I plan to continue school once I graduate and attain a Masters degree. Afterwards, I plan to become a professor and teach Art.
Angelica: Inspiration hits me all the time, but to actually reciprocate images from my imagination onto canvas takes a lot of processing. I don’t really sketch out on another paper what I want to do on the artwork, but instead I loosely draw it out on the actual canvas before going right into it. Typically my artwork depicts a lot of symbolism and animals, as well as women interacting or becoming animals. There are also a lot of dichotomies in my paintings, sometimes for a comical or meaningful purpose. What motivates me to birth out these ideas is simply my raw drive to create and push myself to challenge my skills in making something beautiful and detailed. I always want to learn more, I always want to be better than I was before.
My desire to become an artist wasn’t fully realized until I was actually a first year student in college, but I have been immersed in art since I was about 4 years old. I didn’t start painting until I was in high school and I didn’t start selling artwork until my senior year. I do commission work, murals, custom portraits, etc. I also sell my own personal designs and art. My curiosity for teaching didn’t surface until I was helping and guiding peers in art classes. I found myself fascinated in helping people grow with their own strengths and abilities as individual artist. I even taught an art summer class out of my house to a few children once and I absolutely loved it.
DF: What role does the artist have in society? Angelica: The artist has a special role, nothing that is physically vital like a doctor, or particularly necessary like carpenters or construction workers. They can’t feed Besides art, I’m in love with wildlife and animals, which is why I am minoring in biology. To be honest, your growling stomach, or cure your headache with pharmaceuticals. The artist is vital but in a spiritually my heart would be fulfilled with either a career involving art or animals. Originally, I was thought of healing way. We create, like doctors, carpenters, and cooks, but instead we make these handmade pictures becoming a zoo- keeper and working with reptiles. that are like portals to another world. The art itself is Family is another big piece of my life, as well as my actually useless, and it if you were freezing it would be heritage, which both play a role in my identity. My something to burn to keep warm. But there is a beauty in convictions rule me, and it shows in my art. something that is to be appreciated for the simple sake of it. You don’t NEED to like art, like you need to like food DF: What motivates you when you create
and medicine. You just appreciate its existence. Individuals with so many things on their plate, with life and all its horrible chaos on their minds could, for even a couple seconds, forget about the chaos and lose themselves in the simple beauty of an artwork. You get lost in the detail and beauty of such a carefully crafted piece, but more than that, it can sometimes make you travel to the back in time into your thoughts and old memories. Art can help your remember an old friend or a dream you once had. As you leave that little world, you appreciate the details and slowly come back to reality. Those individuals can find a moment to lose themselves, and they share this with the person who created it, the artist. It’s a subtle role, but for me is very rewarding. It’s interesting watching people’s faces as they connect or even reject my artwork for its beauty or strangeness. None the less, they give in and share that moment with me, where they let themselves go and lent their attention to something I put my heart and passion into; A spiritually healing moment. DF: What art do you most identify with? Angelica: Realism and hyper-realism have always caught my eye, but more than that, a piece that can tell a story with no words wins my heart. It’s all about an individual’s interpretation of the artwork I suppose, but I have to say I love representational artwork of all kinds. Chuck Close is an absolute favorite artist of mine, as well as Charmaine Olivia, who if you take time to look at, really inspires. DF: What is your favorite artwork?
Angelica: I don’t have a particular favorite artwork, but I have a huge fondness for animal portraits and hyper realistic portraits. There is something about capturing an individual’s essence in the eyes of the artist. They are depicting how they see you, after all, even with their different styles. DF: Is there any kind of art that scares you? Being of religious soul, I am not particularly fond of the “satanic” artworks. Nor am I fond of any type of work that depicts horrible gruesome images like rape, sacrificial anything, or pornographic. There is taste when painting or drawing nudes, and it’s beautiful, but like I said it’s tasteful. It’s to appreciate the human body not to sell it. There are always exceptions, though. I have seen artwork that is supposed to send a message and it has depicted some of my non-favorite types of art but it ended up being meaningful and deep. DF: What do you dislike about the art world? Angelica: I dislike unfriendly competition and envy. Obviously there should be friendly competition but seriously, art is beautiful and should be appreciated, especially by other artist. I really hate when artist refuse to converse with you, simply because they see you as a threat rather than a peer and fellow passionate artist. Even worse than that, is coming across people who see an art degree as something like an easy major and pursue it for that reason. I can’t stand these people; they really should have respect for the aesthetics and get out.
DF: What memorable responses have you had with your work? Angelica: There is nothing more rewarding than having someone connect with a piece so much that they want to own it. It sounds a little lame, but after putting yourself into your work so much, having someone fall in love with it is really rewarding. I do have some pieces I cannot part with, but it’s heartwarming having someone really want that piece so much so that they keep raising the price and try to tell me how it reflects something within them. That is why I sell prints of originals. It satisfies both parties, haha. DF: What is your dream project and why? Angelica: I have always wanted to do a giant mural project on a building in a city. I’ve done murals before and they take so much out of you, but it’s amazing to step back and see the giant creation. I can’t imagine how it would feel to create something enormous and would be outdoors, part of the city scape. DF: What advice would you give to a new artist? Angelica: I would say to follow your heart, because your gut will be telling you financial troubles are in your future. Just kidding, maybe, but it’s never a sure thing to know how well off you will be in this career. It’s not a career for someone who wants to be rolling in cash, it’s more of a follow your passion type of career. Many people will tell you not to go into this field, and maybe they are right. Maybe it will hurt you to be told that what you love isn’t good enough, maybe you will even pick another career, but continue to create art. Don’t ever stop, and if you pursue art, don’t let others succeed in putting your passion down. You just keep steadfast and have fun on the ride.
Photos by Jonathan Gutierrez
â€œOne of the most difficult things everyone has to learn is that for your entire life, you must keep fighting and adjusting, if you hope to survive. No matter who you are or what your position is, you must keep fighting for whatever it is you desire to achieve.â€? George Allen, Sr. Junior Photograher: Juli Cardenas
Model: Nirav Photo: Raven Red
Angela Michelle: A Raven Red Story Story by: Julie Bera
Angela Michelle of Raven Red
Often times, in the world of photography, it is easy to find an assortment of vacuous posers who cannot inspire. Angela Michelle is the opposite. Her work has a profound impact on people in this age of impersonal interconnections via the internet. She make’s it personal. She is mindful about how she does what she does. I had the honor of getting to talk to Angela Michelle about her influential photography business and the struggles she’s faced during her years of hard work. Overcoming anxiety struggles and dealing with negative feedback for her controversial images, Angela is the epitome of artistry. Take a moment, and walk through the world of Angela Michelle: An Owner, Creator, Artist, Photographer, Wife, Story Teller and …Survivor. Angela lit up as she pride fully told me the story of how she came up with the name. An interest of hers is Cultural Anthropology, she explained, before relaying a story belonging to the Northern Pacific Native Americans, which tells us about a time when the light of the world was locked away in a box. Unexpectedly, the day came when a raven rescued the light and brought it back to the people. This story of hope combined with Angela Michelle’s long time love for the study of light was not, alone, the reason she clung to the raven’s story. She also noted that in our culture, the raven has taken on a menacing and dark almost evil persona. She feels instead, we should glorify its goodness. Raven Red continues to shock and intrigue, be it with a controversial image of a cross-dressing veteran dressed part in uniform, part in drag or the even more renowned: nude images, “I grew up in Italy which influenced my outlook on the world.” Angela Michelle explained. “My Dad never treated nude art like it was a bad thing”
Raven Red’s willingness to see art in a fresh new light is what makes her art so motivating. She expressed, “It’s not [my] job to judge. It’s [my] job to tell the story.” Angela Michelle built her empire all while struggling with a very
serious and misunderstood handicap, anxiety. There are many people who have had momentary anxiety, but to live with it daily can crush the human spirit. According to the National Alliance of Mental Illness, general anxiety is a deficiency that makes even the most mundane activities difficult. It is difficult to concentrate, can cause severe fatigue, headaches, nausea, and an anticipation that something terrible may happen. This is a handicap that its sufferers tend to deal with in secret, which can add to the symptoms. But Angela, like the Light in the story she shared, was able to use her art as a way out of the box that hosted her in the darkest times. She has since been able to use her talent to share her light with the world. Even though at times she has considered it, she never gave up; she never let that crippling disorder stop her. Which is why, Angela Michelle of Raven Red photography is a survivor.
Model: Christine Raven Red Photography
Model: Sitara Scirocco Raven Red Photography
Model: Laura Evans Raven Red Photography
Model: Jenny Lectron Raven Red Photography
â€œPhotography, as a powerful medium of expression and communications, offers an infinite variety of perception, interpretation and execution.â€? -Ansel Adams
Model: Suzu Rubbish Raven Red Photography
Model: Marie V. Raven Red Photography
At the age of 11, many children are blessed to have a complete and healthy family. Not Brian Barbier, life threw him a curveball. By this age, his parents had been through a divorce in which Brian was forced to go back and fourth between both houses. Not long there after, his father was diagnosed with an irremediable illness. Before he knew it, his father was gone. Brian, his brother, and his mother were left alone forever and it would be a while before Brian could be made whole again. His endeavor to begin evolving into the man he is today would begin at that very moment. His struggle continued as he cared for his older brother, who was born pre maturely, and whose mental age did not keep up with his physical age. In spite of it all, his mother was persistent with her request that he go to college, so off he went. He worked in kitchens to make ends meet and pay his way through school. Then one day, some one left a camera behind and 6 months later it was his, after no one had claimed it, of course. Initially, he took pictures of a local band just for fun and as a favor. When the band saw the pictures, everyone saw that he had an eye for photography. The rest, well, it’s just history. Brian’s story is one of obstacles, perseverance, and a love of photography. It is a true survivor story.
On the rare occasion that you find someone who can inspire the way that Mandi Gallegos of Mikailee Alton does, it quickly becomes apparent that she is a force to be reckoned with. With fashion shows from Texas to New York, Mandi has been showing the world that her feminine, yet edgy designs are worth talking about. What most people don’t know is that during most of this time, Mandi has been suffering from a rare brain illness, in which she has to endure chemotherapy treatments in order to maintain her health. One of the side affects associated with the type of chemotherapy she is given is bone pain. It can be very debilitating, especially for someone who is as active as a fashion designer. Just imagine the pain in your hands while you sketch your designs or while you sew. Imagine what it would be like to have the one thing you love to do taken away from you. So what does she do when others would contemplate whether or not they should relinquish their title as one of the most creative designers around? She keeps surprising us with more of her designs! That’s right, she sets the gold standard by proving that if you love something enough, you can be a survivor. On top of all that, she also has a day job in which she jokingly tells us she “wears her superman cape made of silk red jersey.” Sometimes when people are trying to get through an extremely difficult ordeal, they give up on their dreams, but it’s people like Mandi who reminds us that we can do anything we set our minds to.
Heart and Soul
Addiction is a sore subject for many people. For Manuel, having struggled and overcome addiction is what keeps him going everyday. This survivor story begins when he was just a freshman in high school. Although he feels it cliché, he says he began drinking as an escape, as most people often do. He quickly realized that he liked it a bit too much. After confrontations with the family for his destructive behavior and dishonest habits, he was sent to rehab. The people at the clinic told him that he was not going to make it, that he was weak and he would relapse. Instead, this made Manuel angry and he decided it was time to be free from the chains of addiction. He has been sober now for 22 years. He is one of our DF photographers and one of the most helpful and caring people you will ever meet. To anyone reading this in the same situation he says, “When you are ready to quit you will...don’t be afraid to ask for help!” Manuel is a true survivor!
Myasthenia Gravis is an auto immune disorder we don’t hear of very often. A person becomes physically weak and has no idea why. This is what happened to Irasema. In 2000, she began to notice that she had droopy eyes and that she had difficulty gargling because her mouth would go numb. The symptoms became so severe that she did not even have the strength to get out of bed. The doctors at LMC in Laredo kept telling her it was in her head (meanwhile she was having trouble breathing after having taken some cough syrup that set her throat on fire!) Instead of wasting and more time, she went to Mexico and a curious doctor swooped in to save the day. He had seen a case of Myasthenia Gravis during his residency and he told them exactly what to give her and in seconds, she was able to breathe again. The bad news was, that this disease would never go away. Currently, Irasema likes to dabble in photography and she is raising three babies. She has to constantly get treated for this and sees her neurologist on a regular basis. For many years she was on the wrong medications and had several crisis moments, but these days, Irasema is tackling the incurable disease as if she were superwoman! Irasema is a survivor!
Backround George Hodan
Art by: Gray Zao
The Talk of Taiwan: Artist Gray Zao Story by: Nancy Janette Santos DF: Tell us about yourself, we want to get to know Gray Zao, the artist. Gray Zao: Hello there! I’m Gray Zao, an artist from Taiwan. Though many call me “Gray” or sometimes “Zao.” I prefer “Gray Zao,” two words together. I graduated from a military academy and had been an officer for a few years. Finally, I found that art is what I really want to do for the rest of my life. Then I made a big change and switched my runway while taking off. It wasn’t easy, but it was absolutely worth it. Though I have taken a few art classes before, I’m mostly self-taught and selftrained. I grew up in a family that loves art, so I got more opportunities to try my hand in this area. Even I had bad skills when I was a kid, I liked to draw stuff from my imagination. With more and more practice, I got more and more confident about my art. I like to try new things, so my works are always changing fast. Sometimes the effects are not satisfying, but I believe that’s a way of improving. Just don’t stick with a formula. There’s no standard in art.
DF: Our theme this issue is the “Survivor” theme. Can you tell us about any obstacles you have had to overcome as an artist? What makes you a survivor? Gray Zao: MONEY. Come on; let’s be honest. :) I can just say everyone who is an artist if he/she takes him/herself as an artist blah blah... but I guess that’s not what you’re asking. Despite those who are not willing to be artists and those who have no talent in art, what are the obstacles they face? Fear? Fear of what? The fear of being starving. I’m not saying we should focus on making much much money. I mean we should make ourselves financially safe, and then we can “choose” to be an artist if we’d love to be one. But “how” can one make money as a full-time artist? Somebody sells his/ her works. Somebody teaches. Somebody finds sponsors. Somebody has a rich dad. Somebody rob banks. No, don’t rob banks. Anyway, spare time for saving money. You won’t lose your freedom of creating. An appropriate amount of money can make you a survivor. DF: What is the art scene like in Taiwan? Gray Zao: I may not be the best one to answer this question since my background is engineering and military. I will talk about what I see with my eyes. There’re more Asian or Taiwanese
indigenous elements, from the architecture of museums and galleries, to artworks, plays or even music. I think there are more and more people devoting to telling the stories about this island. And there’re more and more people willing to enjoy art. Although there’s room for improvement, I feel the art scene is getting more energetic. DF: Who are the people in your works? Gray Zao: Besides family members, they’re models, artists and friends. They’re all gorgeous girls, aren’t they? Why do I only paint girls? Well, not really only girls. Because girls are beautiful, as an artist, I like beautiful things. :) DF: How do you come up with ideas for your next piece? What inspires you? Gray Zao: Ideas come from my life experience, the books I’ve read, what’s on the news, movies, exhibitions, photographs, etc. If I take enough stuff into my body, some ideas would finally show up. I guess one of the best reasons of being an artist is that you can say you’re working even when you’re watching TV or going to a movie. :) I like the theme about war, riot, disaster, destruction, post-apocalypse, so my eyes are caught by these topics more often. If I’m lucky, there might be a light bulb moment. DF: The painting Run, Run, and Run caught my eye right away. Tell me about it. What is it about? Gray Zao: In this tensional riot scene people are running here and there, shouting, screaming, and fighting, just like in our real lives. But there’s a girl sitting peacefully in the middle. She’s just so out of the situation. Seems like everything that is happening doesn’t scare her. She symbolizes you and me and everyone. This world iscompetitive, sometimes cruel, and scary. Don’t give in to fear, just sit back and watch it as a show. DF: What is a typical session like when you are preparing to create something new?
Gray Zao: OK I will reveal my secrets, so listen up. :) If there’s an idea, I draw a sketch and keep modifying until I am satisfied. As a realistic painter, I get enough references, properties, set a scene, lighting, and a model, etc. After taking photos, I even retouch them. Painting it on the canvas is the final stage. The whole session is my creating journey, not just the painting part. Painting will take weeks only, while I may have spent months if not years for this work. DF: What advice would you give to an artist who wanted to come to Taiwan? Gray Zao: Taiwan is a pretty safe and friendly society. If you’re interested in traditional Chinese culture, Taiwan is better than China since they’ve gone through the Cultural Revolution. But I would advise to take a look of Taiwan’s unique history, and try to think in Taiwanese way. Maybe next time you see a work from a Taiwanese artist, you’ll get more from it. By the way, English is not as common, but don’t worry if you don’t speak Mandarin or Taiwanese. Most Taiwanese people are friendly. DF: What other talents do you posses? Gray Zao: I was in friends’ band as a bassist, but that was a long time ago. I still play it nowadays, but not as often. I do want to be a Renaissance man though. I have many different interests, and there’re many things I want to learn or achieve. The problem is my time is limited. Prioritizing becomes an important task for me. I just focus on painting in this stage. I’ll get nowhere if I want to go everywhere at the same time. 10. What are you “Down For?” Gray Zao: I’m down for the sense of achievement! That’s where my motivation comes from. Buy the art at: paintingcozily.etsy.com
Run, Run, and Run! By: Gray Zao
The Dream is What You Sew by: Gray Zao
Uncle David (Left) and Cousin H.C. by Gray Zao
The Story of Three Hearts Interview with Jewelry Designer Jamie Batiste Story by: Nancy Janette Santos DF: Tell us your story. What is your background
and how did Rejected Hearts Club come about?
Jamie: I’ve always been a person that’s been heavily involved in fashion and likes to create my own trends. However, I NEVER thought I would become a jewelry designer let alone start my own business. This story begins from a really bad breakup. I’ve never been a girl who had a lot of boyfriends and I honesty thought I found the person I could spend the rest of my life with especially after being together for three years. One day he broke up with me during brunch at a fancy hotel and it was one of the worse feelings I had ever felt, at that point in my life. I was so caught off guard especially KNOWING I gave this man my entire heart and soul and supporting him with his own personal issues. I remember him saying, “this could be one of my biggest mistakes, but I need to find myself.” I didn’t know what to do and I didn’t think I would ever see a light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve always been a fighter. One day I peeled myself out of bed after being incredibly depressed and losing a lot of weight, and I realized I needed a new hobby to get my mind off of this situation. I went to a store and saw some beads and thought, “I think I’ll start making jewelry.” Tried it and started to give pieces to friends and family and they loved them! This is truly a story of “I turned a breakup into a business.” The motto behind it is The Story of Three Hearts. The heart you gave away, the heart that was rejected, and the heart I give back to you. I find there is always a special light at the end of a dark tunnel. You just have to push through. One of the main things I learned from this was how to keep your independence and still maintain a relationship without loosing yourself. Once you are happy
with your entire self, you learn that the next person that comes in your life appreciates and respects that because you end up being way stronger. If people don’t respect or appreciate it, then time to move on. DF: Are you only jewelry? And if so, do you plan on branching out into other areas of fashion? Jamie: Yes, I am in love with the jewelry industry because you can create simple pieces all the way to wild and heavy pieces and it’s never the same. DF: What projects are you currently working on? Jamie: I am currently working on my inventory for my online store. I also recently created a new collection for a photo shoot in NYC. I love having my pieces worn in major cities as it helps me grow and network. That’s what this industry is all about. DF: What is the best moment you have had as a jewelry designer? Jamie: So many great moments. From the first time I thought of the name of business, to having my pieces in a store in downtown Austin, and most of all and most importantly my fans who keep me going each day! DF: Was there ever a moment someone was not satisfied with one of your pieces? What did you do? Jamie: Yes. I’ve had a customer ask me to create piece exactly like one they viewed online. I delivered the product and they wanted more added to it. Took about three tries to get it right but once I reworked it they were satisfied. One of my flaws is being a people pleaser. I want
everyone to be happy, especially when it comes to my art so I’ll keep going until it’s right. :) DF: When it comes to fashion shows, many people do not think of the jewelry as part of the show. Do you participate in shows? If so, how do you make sure that your brand gets out there? Jamie: I think jewelry plays a big part in shows. I try to participate as much as I can. I love fashion shows. I started off as a model so I’ve been lucky to make the right connections just from that alone. I got to go to every show for NY Fashion Week last year and got to see tons of jewelry on the models rocking the runway. In order to get my brand out I’m never hesitant to just ask. It’s as simple as that. If I see a show I want to be in or a designer I would like to work with, I just go for it! DF: What kind of person wears your jewelry? Jamie: My jewelry is for the guy and gal. My pieces range from the rocker, to the fashionista, to the classy lady. Everything is so versatile and you can wear some items from work, to happy hour, to date night. Trust me you will get plenty of attention rocking my pieces. DF: What are some upcoming trends in the jewelry industry? Jamie: Right now a play on colors has been HUGE! Also, more pearls and long pieces are a trend. Right now I started working on a “black” collection as I feel that will take off. I also am big on Rose Gold with a lot of my work as it’s very classy and won’t go out of style.
one fan for this. He would share all of my pieces online and was a major support in my life. I carry him in my heart every single day and I know he’s still with me and fully supports my jewelry business and me. DF: Where can we get your designs? Jamie: Our store is now officially online and we couldn’t be happier. Visit www. rejectedheartsclub.com for all the latest trends and we have fun promo codes so make sure you follow us on Facebook as well! www.facebook. com/rejectedheartsclub DF: Do you have any other talents you’d like to tell us about? Jamie: Yes! I started in radio when I was 14 years old and knew from then I wanted to be in the entertainment industry. I was on air for top 40 radio, I have an agent for voiceovers, I model, and run this fun business that I created. Never a dull moment in this gal’s life and I wouldn’t change any of it! Through her work in the fashion industry, Jamie is living proof that you can achieve what you want to if you put your heart into it. Just when she thought the worst days of her life were upon her, she decided that she would not falter. If you have been through this kind of heartache, do as Jamie did and, “Turn a breakup into a business!” The opportunities are endless. You too can be a survivor!
DF: Where does your inspiration come from? Jamie: My inspiration actually comes from where my imagination takes me. I don’t sit in a room and sketch. I look at what I have and just start designing by hand. Everything is custom designed and handmade by yours truly. DF: Who would you say has been your biggest fan from day one? Jamie: This question actually almost brings tears to my eyes because my brother who recently passed away was and is my number
Photo on right: Chains from the Rejected Hearts Collection
All Festival Photography by Juan Castillo
Chris Perez Project
Tony DjEzco Escobedo
Steve Augeri Band
The Chris Perez Project
Photo by: Juan Castillo
The Heroine Photo by: Juan Castillo
Kiaa Destroyer and Vankuver Photo: Juan Castillo
by: Julie Bera
The word Survivor can be defined as: a person with great powers of endurance; somebody who shows a great will to live or a great determination to overcome their difficulties and carry on. Some of us are survivors and some of us just think we are. Some of us have what it takes to be successful and some of us only have what it takes to make excuses, some of us have the POWER to see the possibilities but most of us are only strong enough to see what cripples us. Motivational speaker, Eric Thomas said, “When you want to succeed as bad as you want to breath, that’s when you will be successful.” Nancy Santos is my hero. She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she was just 29. When I heard the news I assumed my time at DF magazine was over. I assumed, since she was the backbone to the magazine, the creator and designer that this sickness would take her away from the masterpiece she built. I clearly didn’t know Nancy as well as I thought. Only a few months after she got the diagnosed and started treatment she was back to giving her all for this magazine. Every time I talked to Nancy, she was either on the way to chemo, or on the way back from the hospital, or trying to work on the latest issue. In vain I told her to slow down and not to do so much, but she would ignore me and continue telling me what was on the horizon for DF. In July 2013 Nancy went under for a full mastectomy. Praying that, at her young age, this was going to be the end of the struggle. It wasn’t. She will be continuing in her treatment since she is still not cancer free. Cancer, although we hear about it in the news and on TV, is still one of those diseases we don’t truly talk about. I’ve never known cancer and have no right to assume I have any idea about the kind of mental and physical toll it takes. All I knew, all I still know, is that it’s painful and lonely and scary. Debbie Wasserman Shultz, a Breast Cancer survivor said, “Breast Cancer is not just a disease that strikes at women. It strikes at the very heart of who we are as women: how others perceive us, how we perceive ourselves, how we live, work and raise our families- or whether we do these things at all.” Every day Nancy is on the ball. She’s happy, forgiving, and patient. Dealing with this amazing amount of pain with a smile on your face is not an expected thing. But when you add the stress from dealing with layouts, bylines, writers like me who turn in their articles way later than they should, and juggling all thing things even a healthy person would find it difficult to juggle, one might think that enough would be enough, but not for Nancy. She does it because of her love art and this magazine and she asks for nothing in return because Nancy wants this magazine to succeed. She wants it more than she wants to complain, she wants it more than she wants to give up, and she wants it more than she wants to sleep. She has taught me that when I can work through the toughest circumstances and still hold on, that’s when I too can be successful. It’s easy to see why I say, “Nancy Santos, you’re my hero!”
Thanks for joining us! See you soon!